Citizens' Issues
Your iPhone could be disabled during the next protest you attend

According to a report by, the iPhone maker has received a patent that would allow Apple to turn off its mobile devices in areas that are deemed inappropriate for recording or taking pictures

The next time you’re at a concert and you whip out your iPhone to record the excitement, you may notice it doesn’t work. During the show you keep trying to turn it on but for some reason it just won't light-up.

But miraculously when you go outside when the concert is over, your phone all of a sudden works again. This can happen to you at the next concert you attend or maybe inside the next movie theater you go to.

Apple has received a patent that would allow the company to turn off its mobile devices in areas that are deemed inappropriate for recording or taking pictures. The new technology would also have the ability to shut down communication functions in devices, so people couldn’t text or make phone calls if they’re in areas that are considered sensitive.

Here’s what's written on the patent:

“This policy enforcement capability is useful for a variety of reasons, including for example to disable noise and/or light emanating from wireless devices (such as at a movie theater), for preventing devices from communicating with other wireless devices (such as in academic settings), and for forcing certain electronic devices to enter ‘sleep mode’ when entering a sensitive area.”

Many believe this new patent could be a good thing, as it can remove the power from movie bootleggers or cut off communication from a group of up-to-no-gooders in an airport let’s say, but it could also harm the public’s ability to document wrongdoing.

Citizen journalists

Remember the kids who were pepper-sprayed at the University of California Davis during the Occupy Wall Street rallies? The students were sitting peacefully but were sprayed at close range, while hundreds of smartphones filmed the incident, which was eventually broadcast around the world.

Well, this type of amateur-video journalism could be halted, as certain entities could have the power to abruptly shut off your phone during protest marches, rallies or political gatherings. Those same entities could also just block off satellite signals so you couldn’t get smartphone access in certain places.

The federal government along with Apple could arbitrarily decide what areas or public functions would be considered sensitive or restricted. Some believe the amount of subjectivity that goes into making such a decision is as big as the sea, which is the reason they're concerned about this new technology.

Although the patent was granted, Apple would still need the okay from the government to implement the technology, but the company is well on its way to using it in the near future.

Some have already expressed concern over not being able to monitor police action, especially during public protests.

Blackout conditions


"Covert police government operations may require complete ‘blackout’ conditions," said the patent. "The wireless transmission of sensitive information to a remote source is one of the examples of a threat to security. This sensitive information could be anything from classified government information to questions or answers to an examination administered in an academic setting.”

Apple also noted having the ability to shut off smartphones is ideal for professional and some social settings, where devices could easily bother many people at once.

“As wireless devices such as cellular telephones, pagers, personal media devices and smartphones become ubiquitous, more and more people are carrying these devices in various social and professional settings,” it says in the patent. “The result is that these wireless devices can often annoy, frustrate, and even threaten people in sensitive venues.”

Apple also says smartphones should be disabled within photography darkrooms and biological labs, where light can destroy what’s being worked on.

Apple also says the new technology can help drivers as they attempt to use their devices on the road. The company says the smartphone’s communication function could be temporarily deactivated when entering your car or when you're driving in certain areas. Devices would be manipulated by GPS signals and satellites.

Now just which entities will have the authority to deem areas sensitive remains to be seen. Whether it’s only Apple, areas of the U.S. government, or local police departments, setting up the technology nationwide is challenging, but extremely doable.

The fact that Apple has already been granted a patent by the government shows that having your smartphone manipulated by someone other than yourself could be happening sooner than you think.


To read the original article click here


Indian steel demand continues to be weak

‘With Indian domestic steel prices starting to come down and a slowdown apparent in Indian demand, steel companies seem to be focussing on exporting more,’ says Nomura Equity Research

Indian steel demand growth is estimated at 4% y-o-y (year-on-year) and it remained weak in August 2012 as per data released by Joint Plant Committee (JPC). With the moderation in the past two months, YTD (year-to-date) April-August 2012 demand growth has further narrowed to 6.9% y-o-y. The data has been made available to Moneylife by Nomura Equity Research.


According to Nomura Equity Research, net imports during August-2012 were down to just 199 KT (kilo tonnes) from a monthly run rate of 300 KT.  However, both imports and exports remain elevated. Total imports have increased to 763KT, while exports also jumped to 564KT. YTD net imports are at 1.5 million tonnes (compared to 464 KT in Apr-Aug 2011) and total imports at 3.3 million tonnes (versus 2.4 million tonnes in Apr-Aug 2011). Total exports are down y-o-y to 1.86 million tonnes from 1.94 million tonnes last year.


With Indian domestic steel prices starting to come down and a slowdown apparent in Indian demand, companies seem to be focussing on exporting more, observes Nomura. It further points out that India still remains a net importer of steel.


Indian domestic steel prices are now at a slight premium to Chinese export prices, according to Nomura. While Indian steel prices have come down by Rs1,000-1,500/tonne during the past month, a sharp fall in Chinese export prices means that Indian prices are now at a premium of 1%-2% to landed cost of imports.


Chinese export HR coil prices have now fallen to $510/tonne (from

$ 550/tonne last month) and domestic steel prices are at close to Rs38,500/tonne (including 12% excise). This means that Indian steel prices are at a premium to import parity, comments Nomura. There could be a further risk of Rs500-Rs1,000/tonne to Indian steel prices as per current global prices, Nomura points out.


Supreme Court says reporting of trial proceedings can be postponed

While observing that freedom of speech and expression is not an absolute right under the Constitution, the apex court said journalists should understand the 'lakshman rekha' so that they do not cross the line of contempt

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday laid down a constitutional principle where aggrieved parties can seek from appropriate court the postponement of the publication of court hearings and a decision taken on a case-by-case basis, reports PTI.


The court, however, refrained from framing broad guidelines for reporting of sub-judice court matters, saying it cannot be done 'across the board'.


The bench observed that freedom of speech and expression is not an absolute right under the Constitution and the journalists should understand the 'lakshman rekha' so that they do not cross the line of contempt.


A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia said it was laying down the constitutional principle which will allow the aggrieved parties to seek from appropriate court the postponement of the publication of court hearings.


The bench said the concerned court will decide the question of postponement of reporting court proceedings on case-by-case basis.


"We are not framing guidelines but we have laid down constitutional principle and appropriate writ courts will decide when the postponement order has to be passed on case-by -case basis," the bench also comprising justices DK Jain, SS Nijjar, Ranjana Prakash Desai and JS Khehar said.


"Hence, guidelines on media reporting cannot be framed across the board," the bench said.


While propounding the doctrine of postponement of publication of court proceedings, the bench said it is a preventive measure and not a prohibitive and punitive measure.


It further said that temporary ban on publication of court proceedings is necessary to maintain balance between freedom of speech and fair trial for proper administration of justice.


The bench said the postponement of publication of court proceedings would be required where there is a substantial risk of prejudicing the trial and administration of justice.


Further the CJI, who read the judgement, said reasonable restrictions on reporting of court proceedings were needed for societal interest and this doctrine of postponement is one of "neutralising technique".


The apex court has undertaken the exercise of framing guidelines after receiving complaints of breach of confidentiality during the hearing of a dispute between Sahara Group and market regulator SEBI.


The issue of breach of confidentiality came up when certain documents regarding the dispute between Sahara and SEBI were leaked to the media.


However, once the hearing had started from 27th March, the Court had expanded its ambit and gave opportunity to others who in the recent past had felt aggrieved due to the publication and broadcast of sub-judice matters.


The constitution bench relied on a catena of judgements from foreign countries like United States of America, England, Canada, Germany, Australia and New Zealand along with the judgements of Indian courts to arrive at a conclusion that postponement of publication of court proceedings in certain cases was necessary to strengthen the balance between free speech and fair trial for proper administration of justice.


It clarified that the order on postponement of publication of court proceedings has to be passed by the writ court subject to the twin test of necessity and proportionality.


The postponement of publication has to be for short duration without disturbing the essence of the proceeding.


While observing that the postponement of publication cannot be viewed as punitive measure, the bench said such steps are necessary to protect the journalists from venturing into the contempt area.


The bench had reserved its judgement on 3rd May after 17 days of hearing.


During earlier hearings, the bench had permitted all parties to present their views and subsequently the Press Council of India, the Editors Guild of India, the National Broadcasters Association and some national dailies and individual reporters had argued in the case opposing any regulation on media reporting.


While majority of the parties were of the view that the apex court did not have inherent powers to lay guidelines on the issue which falls in the domain of legislature, some had favoured guidelines to protect the interest of the litigants.


The bench had said it wanted to have a proper balance between Article 21 (Right to Life and Liberty) and Article 19 (1)(a)(Freedom of Speech and Expression) of the Constitution.


It had observed that its intervention is required to safeguard administration of justice in the absence of any specific law to regulate legal reporting and had came out with the idea of temporary ban on sub-judice matters which was opposed by journalist groups.


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